A Michigan maker of vans for the disabled that received a $50-million Energy Department loan has quietly ceased operation and laid off its staff.
Vehicle Production Group, or VPG, stopped operations after finances dipped below the minimum threshold required by the government as a condition of the loan, says its former CEO, John Walsh. Though about 100 staff were laid off and its offices shuttered, it has not filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
VPG, of Allen Park, Mich., received its Energy Department loan under the same clean-energy programs under fire by House Republicans, especially the $527 million to troubled plug-in hybrid car maker Fisker Automotive and $535 million to solar startup Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization. VPG was deemed eligible for the loan because some of its vans were expected to be fitted with engines fueled by clean compressed natural-gas.
Dramatic hearings are expected today as Gregory Hicks, a State Department official who was on the ground in Libya during the 9/11 attack when four Americans died, talks to a House panel.
Hicks’s testimony follows a House Republican Conference report and a detailed article on the “Benghazi Talking Points” in The Weekly Standard that further call into question the credibility of the Obama Administration’s response.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that (1) the Administration bungled security before the incident; (2) the response to the assault was disjointed and inadequate; and (3) the Administration made a consistent and considerable effort to hide these facts.
The timeline still does not add up.
President Obama’s motto seems to be, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again until you fail an embarrassing number of times. And while you’re at it, waste billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars.
It will come as no surprise to conservatives that one of the Obama administration’s politically favored green energy projects has failed. The Hill reports:
The Energy Department (DOE) disclosed Monday that it has seized $21 million from Fisker Automotive, the financially distressed electric carmaker that has drawn $192 million in federal loans.
“Given the obvious difficulties the company is facing, we are taking strong and appropriate action on behalf of taxpayers,” DOE spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy said in a statement.
“Strong and appropriate action on behalf of taxpayers” would have been not investing our hard-earned money in politically favored green energy projects that are bound to fail in the first place.
President Obama is usually the main character – or more specifically the antagonist – but this time, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is center stage.
Despite the State Department’s March report stating that the pipeline would not accelerate oil sands production or significantly raise greenhouse gas emissions, combined with the support of 62 of his fellow senators, Sen. Menendez has “signaled that he might back off plans to hold a hearing” on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senator and environmental activists share the same poorly grounded concerns:
Foggy Bottom’s findings alarmed some Democrats — including Menendez — as well as green and progressive groups. They said they had questions about the State Department’s process.
Part of the Pickens Plan was for America to use more of America’s natural gas, but his central focus was on natural gas and incentivizing (with subsidies) America’s heavy truck fleets to use natural gas. He conceded last year that the switch from diesel-powered trucks could occur without federal intervention.
In his colorful words, “It’s going to happen, and you don’t have to have Washington do it, thank God.” Yes, Pickens accepted market forces would allow this transition to occur without further intervention and market distortions from the federal government. And that’s good because subsidy programs are bad for taxpayers and energy consumers, though they may be good for investors like Pickens.